Ashtray. Picture: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Ashtray. Picture: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

HOSPITALS are places where we see some of the most vulnerable people in our communities; from newborn babies to people with serious health conditions such as cancer.

North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust (NCIC) wants to make sure we are doing all we can to support the people who need us the most and one of the ways we can all do that is refraining from smoking on any of our sites.

Smoking (including vaping and e-cigarettes) is not permitted on any of our sites in line with our policy and the law in respect of smoking on work premises.

This is in the best interests of our staff, patients and visitors.

Liz McDonald, who works in the respiratory department at the Cumberland Infirmary, explains how stopping smoking can improve your health and wellbeing.

She said: “Stopping smoking improves your physical health but it is also proven to improve your mental health and wellbeing.

“Cutting out smoking does improve mood and reduces anxiety.

“Stopping smoking can be as effective as anti-depressants as people with mental health problems are likely to feel much calmer and more positive.

“Studies have shown that quality of life and positive mood improve. Anxiety, depression and stress levels lower.

“Quitting smoking is one of the best things you will ever do for your health. Within 20 minutes your blood pressure and pulse rate return to normal. After nine hours the carbon monoxide level in the blood reduces by half and oxygen level returns to normal.

“Within 72 hours, breathing becomes easier. Bronchial tubes begin to relax and energy level increase.”

Improvements can also been seen after a couple of weeks.

News and Star: Elizabeth McDonald

News and Star: Elizabeth McDonald

Elizabeth McDonald

If you take antipsychotic medicines or anti-depressants it is important you talk to your GP or Psychiatrist before you stop smoking – the dosage of these medicines may need to be monitored and the amount you need to take may need to be reduced.

Outside of the hospital, people who want help to stop smoking can contact their local pharmacy for support.

Stopping smoking isn't easy, but there are things you can do to improve your chances of success.

1. Pick a quit date

Choose a day that will be stress-free, and stick to it.

2. Make a list
Write down all the reasons you want to quit. Keep the list handy and read it when the cravings start.

3. Build a support network
Pair up with someone else who’s looking to give up smoking and support each other.

4. Remove any reminders
Before your quit date, get rid of ashtrays, lighters and matches, and any remaining cigarettes.

5. Use stop smoking services
Contact your local NHS Stop Smoking Service for support from trained specialists.

6. Try nicotine replacement therapy
Consider using nicotine replacement therapy, which can more than double your chances of stopping smoking.

7. Start moving
Scientific studies have proven that exercise, as little as a five minute walk or stretch, cuts the urge to smoke and may even help your brain produce anti-craving chemicals.

8. Avoid trigger situations
Anticipate stressful or trigger situations. So, if you smoke after a meal, go for a short walk instead.

9. Practise saying “no”
Don’t be tempted by just one cigarette; it often leads to another.

10. Treat yourself
Put away some, or all, of the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy something special.

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